The Widdershins

The stuff of straw men…

Posted on: August 5, 2015

The term “straw man” isn’t a reference to Ray Bolger’s character in The Wizard of Oz, but for purposes of this post, his quote is quite appropriate, “Some people without brains do an awful lot of talking?”Scarecrow

In the vernacular, a straw man argument is a sham argument set up to be defeated, but in the legal world, a straw man has specific meaning.  Straw men are essentially conduits used to keep the underlying facts of a transaction hidden.  Straw men have no real interest in a transaction, but are merely passive stand-ins for the real party in interest who is secretly controlling the action from behind the scenes – the wizard behind the curtain.

Last weekend there was a conclave of straw men and the organizations they live to serve.  It was the Kochapalooza at the palatial St. Regis at Dana Point, California.  It held all the pomp and circumstance of a very upscale wedding.  Only registered “Stepford-like attendees” were allowed access and even then, cell phones were confiscated and hulking men with earphones kept a watchful Cycloptic eye on the 450 attendees.

While reporters were seriously embargoed in what they could report, it became apparent that the Kochtopus is fiercely trying to “rebrand itself”.  At the same time, all the iterations of the Koch machine are on a serious steroid binge – in fact, it seems as if the Kochtopus ate the steroid factory and its tentacles are going to be longer and stronger next year.  2016 will be the year of the Kochtopus.

The St. Regis

The St. Regis

The St. Regis presidential beauty pageant consisted of Carly Fiorina, Scott Walker, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, and Jeb! Bush. Rand Paul is the only one who turned down the invitation.  It really doesn’t matter if the Kochs have a favorite in the race since the Koch affiliated groups have almost a Billion Dollars to spread around.  A single, stand alone super PAC has over $100,000,000.00 to spend.

While it is easy – almost like shooting Kochtopi in a barrel – to be critical of the Brothers Koch, the problem is larger than just them.  For the first time in more than a century, the majority of funding for a presidential election is coming in six-figure or larger checks from corporations and the wealthiest Americans.  The 2016 campaign will be an exercise in speed dating 500 big-ticket billionaires who are not bothered in the least about being deeply adored and reverently worshiped by sycophantic politicians.

Overall, super PACs raised $314 million through the end of June, compared with just $26 million at the same time in 2011. More than 500 donors have given at least $100,000, for a total of $238 million — 75 percent all super PAC donations.kochtopus

While all the candidates have their sugar daddies, there is no better example of the egregious nature of these political vampire squids than the super PAC of creepy Ted Cruz.   Seventy-one percent of his super PAC and campaign fundraising come from big donors, almost all of it from just three multi-million-dollar contributors: $15 million from the fracking Wilks family, $11 million from New York hedge fund executive Robert Mercer, and $10 million from Texas private equity investor Toby Negeubauer.

Iowa and New Hampshire, along with other early primary states, no longer have any real relevance.  So long as a candidate continues to stir the loins of their billionaire bubalas, they are good to go.  It’s hard to see how anyone gets put in timeout as long as they have millions in mad money.

And here’s a frightening statistic:  Over the last two years and as of May 06, 2015, 1,360 groups organized as super PACs have reported total receipts of $696,011,919.00.

When the Supreme Court upended the system of campaign finance by equating money with speech in Citizens United, they defensively emphasized the disinfecting sunlight of disclosure.  Of course, the fulcrum of that argument is Congress passing laws to mandate disclosure.  This is where the conservatives on the Court couldn’t have been “wronger”.  First, there must be the political will in Congress to disinfect the system through disclosure.  That political will does not exist nor will it exist as long as contribution addicted politicians get their mainline fix through PACs.

Pay no attentionTo cull the straw men from the power-hungry in this super PAC morality play, it would require a character study no less intricate than that of Cassius and Brutus in Julius Caesar.  Cassius, recognizing the motivations of others, and Brutus being malleably naive, were both destroyed by consequences of their making with ultimately the status quo being considered the victor.

Until such a rich narrative plays out, we will just have to be suffer like the Scarecrow, “with lots of talking by those without much in the way of brains”.

Be sure and download your scorecard for tomorrow night’s debate and please feel free to take this conversation in any direction you want to explore.


29 Responses to "The stuff of straw men…"

Of course Jon Stewart had a great skit on the Koch conclave. It might be a little risque’ but I’ll try to find it and add it here.

He also had some clips from the event and I was surprised to see Mike what’s his name from Politico (or looked like him) posing the questions to the candidates. Never trust a person who can’t or won’t blink their eyes.

Here it is:

and the money shot (so to speak) starts at around 3:50 in the clip.

Okay folks, we now have a new category over on the right side called “politics”. There you will find the debate scorecard you can use to see who said what and when during the debate. Also, courtesy of Prolix there’s a link to an online stopwatch you can use when the debates start. It will help keep track of what point one of the chimps makes his first comment on a particular subject.

OMFG, this man has NO shame at all.

Prolix, when I started reading this amazing article, I was laughing so hard, I spit out water all over my new keyboard (I spilled coffee on the old one this morning). Then by the time I got to the part about the PAC with 100 million, I was cursing the 5 horsemen, and then by the time I finished and learned that the combined pacs have 2/3 of a billion bucks, I had to go get a glass of cold white wine to simmer down. The current supremes have destroyed this country. The greed is just off the charts.

Fredster, thanks for the link and the info. Jindal is utterly shameless, a horrible person. Someone was saying at Upps that he stopped state funding of PP?

Laker wants to add drinking to the game, naturally, since he just turned 21. He says if we get an answer that is close to the right time, you take a drink. I told him we’ll undoubtedly be drinking through the whole thing.

Is the debate going to be 2 hours long? I’ve been searching, but can’t find an exact end time for it, even on Fox. I’m just wondering so I can plan dinner.

Annie@6: Yep, Piyush cancelled the state medicaid contract that used P.P. I’ll see if I can find the link.

Planned Parenthood doesn’t provide abortions in Louisiana, but does offer family planning services, cervical exams and gynecology services to women in Baton Rouge and New Orleans.

And who does this affect the most? The poorest of the poor. 👿

Laker wants to add drinking to the game, naturally, since he just turned 21.

LOL! I had thought about making it the drinking game but I figured we’d be gulping out of bottle and chugging before the 2nd or 3rd question was asked and answered.

annie I looked at the tvguide online and it shows it starting at 7:50 pm central time and ending at 10. I’m not sure if that’s an hour for post debate b.s. or what.

@1, that’s Mike Allen, look up weird in the dictionary and there is a video of him. He thinks he’s Bruce Wayne or something. He won’t allow anyone to know where he lives.

There’s a story about someone sharing a cab with him after a night of drinking and Allen had the cab driver drive around in circles while he made the other person close his eyes and then he was dropped off blocks and blocks away from where he supposedly lived.

The thing is, in DC, you could be dropped off on a corner and there would be two thousand bat caves in spitting distance.

Weird, weird little man. Talented, but really, really weird.

@3, thanks Fredster for all your help and technological whiz-bang knowledge. Couldn’t have done it without you.

@5, Annie, my work here is done — spit takes over keyboards are the highest form of praise.

You are so right about the Supremes — I wish they would, “Stop, in the Name of Love!”

@7, tell Laker the drinking needs to start at the 5:00 Happy Hour debate. Over imbibing during the under card will take the edge off the red-butted chimps.

Prolix @13: No problem at all. I also meant to add that the scorecard is printable on Macsand PCs since it’s in a pdf format.

@8, I’d plan on eating beforehand because I’m betting you’ll be sick to your stomach afterward. Just think if Christie provokes another nightmarish revelation of his birth control usage. Or think about Huckleberry — nothing else, just thinking about Huckleberry makes me ill. Have the Pepto handy or better yet, assign Laker to coming up with a drink that incorporates the pink stuff — multi-tasking at its best.

Prolix that’s a bizarre story about Mike Allen and his living quarters.

Now that would be a good time to have a drone. 😆

Honestly, do you think time will run backwards during the debate? It might be a sign of the end times.

@18, a drone spying on a drone. Mixed metaphor: Instead of two peas in a pod, “That’s two bees in a pad.”

@15, I’ll tell him. He already filled out his chart. I don’t know if I can watch the Losers debate as well. Will probably just read the most hilarious lines the next day.

I hope not on the backwards time thing.

That’s funny about the pepto thing and the drink.

The only good thing about Christie’s confession was the guy who did the face-palm thing beside him. That *just* made the clip.


The head of Rand Paul’s super PAC, Jesse Benton, has been indicted over shenanigans during the “here’s my car keys political swap fest” in Iowa’s 2012 primary.

Jesse Benton is married to Ron Paul’s granddaughter, the niece of Rand Paul. Just for the record, this incest isn’t natural born Kentucky proud incest — all these swarmy swappers are from TX.

Of course, Rand “there’s a varmint on my head” Paul is saying it’s all an Obama Justice Department plot to get him. Yes, I can see where someone barely polling 4% nationally is an existential threat.

Oh dear Lord: According to Rachel, two of Rand Paul’s guys just got indicted on a bribery thing. 😳

@23: Ya beat me to it.

@Prolix: Welp…the herd is getting thinned out, one way or another.


@4, Piyush is a really, really, obnoxious “plus one” at a party when the real invitee wasn’t given the option of inviting a “plus one”.

He can’t go through the buffet line so he stands directly opposite the buffet line with a sign that says, “If I was invited, you would be having a better time.”

Prolix@27: When he has to shut down his “prez campaign” I can only imagine the sucking up he’s going to do to whoever stays in the race and then gawd forbid the amount of ass-kissing (and more) he’s gonna do when the nominee is selected.

Meanwhile his potential successors don’t even mention him and everyone is just ready for him to pick his bags and haul ass out of the state.

Then after he’s gone I hope folks can seriously start repairing the damage he’s done.

You guys are the bomb! I have a meeting with my team in the Philippines right when the debate starts, but will join the live blog as soon as I can. I frankly don’t think it’s survivable without adult beverages, so Annie, I hope Laker imbibes responsibly.

Hmmmm, perhaps considering the crowd we’re going to watch, using the word “bomb” is ill-advised. 😉

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